Marisa Baxter, Owner/Chocolatier of Truffles in Paradise, Longmont, Colorado

 

Marisa Baxter, a Six Star winner of Taste TV’s Grand Master Chocolatier Awards and the People’s Choice Award winner four years in a row at the Colorado Chocolate Festival, demands flavor equal to her stunning creations.

Truffle lovers have come to expect complex, layered taste and Marisa says The Perfect Purée’s unique flavors allow her to be infinitely creative.

“I love to try out different flavor combinations, profiles and textures and I can utilize the purées in a curd, a ganache, a pâte de fruit or even a jam,” Marisa says.

Founded in Santa Cruz, California, and established in Longmont, Colorado, since 2010, Truffles in Paradise is the most decorated chocolatier in Colorado with more than 70 state, national and international awards for artistry, presentation and taste.

Marisa’s first career in international human rights law involved substantial travel to places including Vietnam and Cambodia. Once her son was born she no longer wanted to travel overseas but after two years at home she began to feel restless. Her friends encouraged her to turn her passion for cooking into a business so she made an experimental batch of 50 boxes of Valentine’s Day truffles. They sold out in three days.

“I knew I was on to something. I then taught myself how to airbrush with cocoa butters, how to manipulate chocolate and, most of all, how to not break every ganache I made!”

Marisa uses her background in law to run her business but also gets to use her ample creativity to make one-of-a-kind chocolates described as “handcrafted mini bits of heaven” by one passionate out-of-state customer. Her husband handles shop display and marketing and her now 10-year-old son is the official Taste Tester.

“I never regret following my passion,” Marisa says. “I get to make people happy, it’s the perfect job.”

Marisa uses Guittard chocolate in her products and learned about The Perfect Purée through her early association with the Guittards.

“The Guittard family and company were very supportive of me when I first started, and they told me about The Perfect Purée,” she says. “Once I left California, I never found another purée that fit my needs.”

Originally from Australia, Marisa gravitates towards tropical flavors, particularly The Perfect Purée Passion Fruit Concentrate, which she reduces until it displays the “lovely bits of caramelization” that go into her much-awarded Caramelized Passion Fruit Butterfly truffles. A favorite drink — mango mojito with vanilla rum — inspired a truffle with The Perfect Purée Mango Puree. Her newest obsession is The Perfect Purée Blood Orange Concentrate in a blood orange pâte de fruit for a little twist on her popular Grand Marnier confections.

“My parents grew blood oranges in Santa Barbara and I’ve always loved the gorgeous, vibrant red,” Marisa says.

The velvety texture and naturally sweet, unique taste of The Perfect Purée Pink Guava Puree is alluring but Marisa says it’s a more subtle flavor that can get lost in a chocolate.

“I would love to try and incorporate the Pink Guava into a confection and I have a few ideas that I’d like to try, I just need to find the time!”